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Keynote Speakers

Please note that, unfortunately, David Abram will not be able to join the conference due to family reasons. Instead, the keynote lecture will be given by Darrel Moellendorf.

Professor Darrel Moellendorf (International Political Theory at Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany)

Climate change is a serious problem and requires fast and far-reaching reductions of global GHG emissions. At the same time, access to cheap energy is crucial to alleviate severe poverty and to reduce the current massive global inequality. However, the generation of cheap energy usually involves substantial GHG emissions. Also, poor people will be hit first and worst by climate change. Therefore, climate change mitigation/adaptation and poverty eradication cannot be separated as distinct policy goals. In his keynote Darrel Moellendorf will address both topics in a comprehensive fashion and will sketch options to overcome this alleged dilemma. Darrel Moellendorf is Professor for International Political Theory at Goethe University (Frankfurt/Main). He is one of the leading political philosophers with a focus on global justice. In addition to climate change and poverty, he is also working on questions concerning just war theory, justice in situations of transition, justifications in Political Theory and Sustainable Development. The keynote will be followed by a brief comment from Konrad Ott.

Professor Clare Palmer (Texas A&M University, United States)

Most often, animal ethics refers to domesticated animals which are utilized for meat production, scientific research, or as pets. The moral relationship between humans and wild living sentient animals, however, remains full of ethical puzzles, as, for instance, the puzzle of “policing nature”. Clare Palmer has contributed to contextualize animal ethics. In her key note we wish to hear about “animal ethics in the wild” both with respect to philosophical reflection and practical recommendations.

Professor Thomas Potthast (International Centre for Ethics in the Sciences and Humanities, Tübingen University, Germany)

At Kiel University, the concept of 'biocoenosis' or 'living community' was coined by the marine zoologist Karl August Moebius in 1877. Source and context of the publication were explicitly practical: Möbius reported about investigating alongside the countries of the North Sea on the (over)utilization of oyster banks in relation to the ecological communities which they are part of. In the midst of this report, the influential neologism was introduced. The path-breaking research of Möbius was both highly innovative to ecological science and theory formation, and at the same time contributed to the early debate about sustainable use of natural resources. The lecture shall address (1) the interconnections between ecological science, sustainable utilization practice and the ethics of nature (not only) in Germany in the late 19th century. (2) Ecologically but also otherwise inspired ideas about '(ecological) community' have a prominent impact also in political and ethical debates at the beginning of the 21st century. I shall explore potentials and limitations of '(living) community' as a concept originating in the 19th century ecology to be employed for sustainability practice and environmental ethics today.

Professor Alan Warde (University of Manchester, United Kingdom)

Sustainable consumption is a topic high on the political agenda. I briefly note the challenge that contemporary patterns of personal and household consumption pose for mitigation of the effects of climate change, for a substantial proportion of CO2 emissions result from travel, heating and cooling, and eating. I argue that individualistic models of the consumer, the sovereign consumer of economics and the expressive individual of cultural analysis, have left us with a limited and skewed understanding of the habits and routines underpinning consumption patterns. Explanations in terms of individual choice have dominated the intellectual agenda to the neglect of personal habits and collective institutional arrangements. I review some competing approaches to habit currently circulating in cognitive science, behavioural economics and the sociology of culture. These bring to light an alternative model of action, drawing upon some recent analytical and empirical insights derived from practice theory and pragmatism, to emphasise repetition and routine. In this view, consumption is primarily a matter of the appropriation of goods and services for the maintenance of everyday conventional practices. Some implications are drawn for the social scientific analysis of behaviour and for policies for overcoming barriers to sustainable consumption.

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